Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Liebster Blog

 Imagine my surprise when I awoke this morning to find that Red’s mom from Learning Through Clutter had nominated me for a Liebster Award. When you have a moment you should check out Bug’s little friend Red. They are about the same age and Red loves Tot School too.

A Liebster Award (yes, I had to look it up) is something that is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers from their own peers. It is a fantastic way to hear about other bloggers and encourage them to continue to blog. With the nomination are a few rules. I must answer 11 questions, nominate 11 other bloggers, and post 11 new questions for them to answer. So here goes…

            1.    What are you most excited about in the upcoming year?
I have recently taking a huge step in my personal health a fitness levels. In just a few short weeks I will be running my first 5K and in February I will be running the Disney Princess Half Marathon.
            2.    What are you least looking forward to?
There isn’t a whole lot that I have on the calendar for the rest of this year so there isn’t anything that I am not looking forward to doing.

            3.    What are your biggest distractions?
Work, work, work. I run a non-profit that can truly get distracting if I don’t focus and limit my time working on things involving the organization.

4.   What is your favorite activity to do as a family?
Going to the park is my absolute favorite thing to do as a family. Bug loves to play outside and when him and his daddy get going it just brings me so much joy.

5.   What is your go-to dinner meal?
Believe it or not, pork tenderloin. It is a favorite at our house and I always seem to have some on hand. Plus the leftovers are easy to turn into another quick meal.

6.   What is the best advice you've ever received?
      To take it one day at a time.
7.   What is your favorite season?
Hand down – FALL – I love when the weather starts to cool down and you can smell the change in the air. In Florida this only happens rarely.

8.   What is your favorite book/author?
I love Mary Higgens Clark. Any mystery/suspense really but she makes me think hard to figure things out.

9.  What is your favorite TV show?
Grey’s Anatomy is my current favorite but my all time is Friends. I have seen everyone of them multiple times and can quote so many of the scenes it’s not even funny.

10. What is your child's favorite book?
I don’t know if he has a particular favorite at this stage but he loves anything that can interact with, like pop out books or finger puppet kind.

11. What is your child's favorite TV show?
Veggie Tales – He is a huge Larry fan.


My 11 Nominees:

                 1.       Shannon’s Tot School
                 2.       West World Blog
                 3.       Stir The Wonder
                 4.       The “Unworking” Mom
                 5.       And That’s Family
                 6.       The Great Green Room
                 7.       We Can Do All Things
                 8.       Royal Little Lambs
                 9.       The Preschool Experiment
                10.   Memorizing the Moments
                11.   The Kavanaugh Report


And finally the 11 questions:

      1.       What is your favorite holiday?
      2.       How do/did you handle tantrums?
      3.       Who is your favorite singer?
      4.       What is your child’s favorite color?
      5.       What do you do during your “me time”?
      6.       Are you a cat or dog person?
      7.       Does your child have a snuggly (security blanket/animal)?
      8.       If you had an entire weekend to yourself, what would you do?
      9.       How old were you when you started your family?
     10.   Are you a crafty person?
     11.   What is your favorite food?

     Don't forget to check out the blogs.

Recovery and Review

~Bug is 27.5 months old~

We had a few issues with mommy’s back this week so things didn’t go quite as planned. When all else fails, review. So we did. We went through all the letters he learned previously and I wrote them on the white board. He then used his car to drive over them as I called them out.

Bug has taken to try and figure out a different way to stack his stackable toys. He will try anything to make them balance.

He is getting much better at the concept of Alphabet Bingo although the pieces don’t always find their way back to the tray. Thank goodness they are only colored pieces of paper.

A few weeks ago we introduced Bug to discovery bottles and HE LOVE THEM. The only downfall in using Gatorade bottles is that there aren’t enough smooth surfaces for him to use the magnetic bottle. So the current process is to dump out all the pipe cleaners and then pick them up with his magnet stick.

Bug is very much of the electronic age and spends lots of time with his InnoTab and my IPhone. Thanks to 1+1+1=1 we are able to download lots of free educational apps as she posts their availability.

Mom’s Favorite:
Every time we get to the mall Bug likes to go to the book store. Here he is reading a story while we shop around. His shoes are off as he just finished playing in the play area and was obviously tired as he kicked back to relax. We recently began utilizing our local library to increase his availability to books. I can’t believe to tell you how valuable I find that little business card size piece of plastic.

Next week the forecast is rain... so much I might not have enough pieces for our weather board. the good news is I have some new colored rice so me thinks this calls for some sensory bins. So until then…

Check out what other tots are doing with their moms here

Hairy Hungry Hippo

~Bug is 27 months old~

The official start of the 2012-2013 School Year started with the letter H. That may seem a little strange to some but we decided to continue our lessons in order versus starting over from the beginning. This week we worked on the letter H. Bug enjoyed using his dot markers with his lapbook sheets. He also enjoyed this color matching hippo game from Letter of the Week.


We did a couple of craft activities this week. We made planet earth with a coffee filter, colored markers and a spray bottle. This was part of God’s creation lessons. We also made a hippo that earned a place on our project wall. Our project wall is where Bug is able to display his art inside frames so he can show it to daddy and anyone who comes over to visit.


Play dough is such a great learning tool as it uses multiple senses. Here Bug rolled balls and logs to make the letter H.

Bug quickly took to his toilet paper roll puppet Hairy and ran around the whole house with him. However, I was able to snap this picture of Hairy as he went “nite nite” right before Bug went for his nap.

We introduced the Bible in Felt and it was a huge hit (thank goodness since my fingers still hurt thinking about cutting it all out.) Bug enjoys helping put the pieces on the board and for the most part gets them in the correct location.

Mom’s Favorite:
This week’s favorite images come from an amusing incident. Bug stepped into a hole that his best friend (our yellow lab) dug out and got muddy p past his knees. So we had to get him cleaned off. The idea was to just rinse him off but it quickly turned into a great chance to play in the water.

Next week we look forward to a review of lessons we have learned and how we can apply them. So until then…

Check out what other tots are doing with their moms here

Thursday, August 30, 2012

2012-2013 * * * Change is Good


The 2012-2013 school year is under way all around the country. With Tot School we like to continue to learn throughout the year. At this age there are no requirements of what has to be done and when it should be done. So we are NOT back to school but continuing our learning with new curriculum ideas and a new school room.

This year we will be combining several different curriculum ideas from the following wonderful ladies who devote their time to sharing with others what has worked for them.

I am excited about our new set up and Bug is too as we can see here from his 2012-2013 school day picture. We have added a learning station for Bug who doesn't like to sit down for very long. Here he can choose to stand up and easily work on his activities. Above the desk is our calendar board. This is where we place our letter of the week (missing this week's letter thanks to a game of hide and seek,) verse of the week, weather chart and principles. We also have added alphabet cards with pictures for the letter sounds. He likes to point out his favorite letter Oo every chance he gets.

Next to his desk area we have what will eventually be his workbox area. Right now it houses additional papers and misc items for both Tot School and Mason's Monarchs (our non-profit). On top of this is where we keep our treasure chest of items for our calendar board as well as our storage boxes for stickers, glue sticks and dot paint. Our library books have found a home here too as they are out of reach of little fingers and much safer this way.

We will continue to use our Tot Tray's for weekly activities. In addition to his Tot Trays we have added discovery bottles, his letter, shape and number puzzles and his stacking pegs have all been placed on his everyday shelves. This are tools that he loves to use all the time and usually asks for as we enter the classroom each day.

Our window sill continues to house weekly books and Bug still has his bean bag chair. We have also added a section for our new Bible in Felt story board. No pictures of this yet but that gives you something to look forward to in the future. So until then...

Goose, Goat, Gnat - Gg Gg Gg

~Bug is 26.5 months old~

So much excitement this week as we completed the upgrades to our classroom (see our New Room post)Bug enjoyed the new setup and some of his new Tot Tools. We have previously used bingo markers for dot paint and they always made such a mess. Bug doesn’t like to get his fingers dirty and we have had the do-a-dot markers on the wish list for awhile. However, I found these really awesome paint sticks that are perfect… and even better I found them at the dollar store. So we used our new dot markers a few times with great joy and concentration.


While we rearranged the room Bug found this sorter that has been on the back shelf for a little while. Each piece has a different texture to match to the board. He did really good with most of them and even called out the colors of the ones he knew.
The egg carton continues to find its way into Tot School. This week however, Bug finally discovered that each of the eggs has a little face and their bottom has a shape. We worked on matching up the egg to the correct holder and tried to match up some faces. The faces are a little hard, even for mommy. They are so tiny and faint.

Bug really enjoys identification and matching lately so we expanded on this and matched shapes to their blank spots in this nice lapbook. We also played a letter identification game - sort of like bingo - and Bug was able to identify all the letters we have reviewed and then a few more that are part of his name.

This week Bug got to go to a workshop at Lowe's with his Papa. Usually these are reserved for the older grandsons but since they were building the Shrek carriage Bug got to go and share his love for Shrek. Papa showed him how to use the hammer and although I don't believe any nails were actually hit Bug did keep the hammer on the wood pieces. We even brought a kit home for daddy to do with him later on since daddy works most Saturdays.

Next week is actually the official start of our 2012-2013 session. We are looking forward to our new curriculum/schedule and the excitement it brings to watch this little man grow. So until then…

Check out what other tots are doing with their moms here

Thursday, August 23, 2012

F is for Feet and Flowers

~Bug is 26.5 months old~

F is for feet and flowers and since we incorporated that into an art project for Bug’s grandmothers we had to wait until we knew they both received theirs before we posted this week’s blog. Bug had fun getting his foot inked to make a footprint and enjoyed adding the flowers to the image. Although I think his favorite part was being allowed to cut out the letter F. No pictures of that part as he is still learning to cut and this mommy wasn’t ready to let him go it alone.

This week we worked on our number review and to my surprise Bug even identified 8 & 9 which we haven't even discussed yet. We also worked on size sorting which was a little bit challenging with these nesting bowls since the sizes are so close. He was able to get the hang of it pretty quickly.

In keeping with our letter theme we spent some time coloring our stand up frog. I was able to pick up a variety of these at Joann's Crafts right after Christmas so you will get to see his collection of animals throughout the year.

I was able to do a quick capture of Bug already reading his devotion book before we actually got started for the morning. Sometime's he is a little more eager to get going than mommy is getting everything ready. Although Bug is still a little young for an actual routine when we first enter the classroom in the morning we do our calendar time and review the letter of the week. Then we have a short devotion and prayer. I was very pleased to see that on this particular day Bug picked up the routine all on his own. He did however manage to lose the letter F somewhere.

Bug was introduced to discovery bottles this week and really enjoyed looking at them. We created a rain bottle which, as you can see below is the one he continues to play with on a regular basis. We also created a sink and float bottle, a magnetic bottle, and a butterfly flying bottle.

Another first was the introduction of the tantagram. Bug has been playing with the idea of the tantagram using an app on our phones. He can go directly to the app and laughs as soon as it tells him he is done and what the animal is that he created.  Totally unplanned is the fact that this tantagram was a fish. Another F :)

We continue to read Dr. Seus's ABC book. He loves to look at the letters in the back of the book and identify the ones that he knows already.

We took some time rearranging the classroom this week as we prepare for the 2012 - 2013 school year. No worries we will continue on with Tot School as we currently do there will just be the addition of some really cool things. As our little Bug grows so does his mind and we have to do whatever we can to encourage his learning.

Mom's Favorite:
In a country where there are so many experiencing a drought, Florida continues to have major afternoon storms. However, we did get the opportunity to go to the park and little man proved that he is no longer my little baby. Here he is climbing the rock wall on the side of the park that is supposed to be five and up.

We can't wait to get started on our new curriculum and to be able to share it with all of you.  So until then…

Check out what other tots are doing with their moms here

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

'Eye' took a self portrait!

~Bug is 26 months old~

This week we added some new things to our tot trays to go along with the letter Ee. One of the main things we focused on was eyes. We sang Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes and each time we came to the part about the eyes we touched our eyes and yelled out the word. We also played a matching game with blocks and cut out eye shapes. Bug had to match up the set of eyes and then place the blocks together.

The other new activity we added was size and number sorting. These cool elephants from Confessions of a Homeschooler worked really well with our theme as well as had room for me to add numbers to them. 
Bug enjoyed putting them in order but quickly got bored with them. He quickly moved on to his color sorting that he has been trying to master. He has to place the object with the correct color grouping as well as name the object.

In keeping with Bug’s desire to use electronic devices and mommy’s PC whenever he can we signed him up for ABCMouse.com 
Although the concepts are the same as what he uses on his tablet he hasn’t quite grasped the concept of using the mouse instead of a touch screen. But he is getting the hang of it pretty quickly.

He did however, have no problem finding a book entitled Big Bug and Little Bug. It is a cute little story and so funny to watch him while they read the book on the site. He doesn't understand that Bug is his nickname but he knows that we call him that so every time they say Bug in the story he looks at me and grins.

While uploading the pictures for this week’s blog I discovered that sometime during the week Bug actually took a few pictures of himself. This one was perfect to go along with the theme and when I asked him what he took a picture of he screamed out EYE.

Preparations for next week got off to a rocky start as we stopped to welcome Bug’s newest cousin to the family. But that won’t keep us from finding new ways to learn. So until then…

Check out what other tots are doing with their moms here